Power of Women Luncheon to Empower Professional Women, Female Students

The sixth annual Power of Women luncheon and expo will be held Wednesday, March 29, in the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University. Sponsored in a collaborative effort by the Southeast Missouri University Foundation, Southeast’s Department of Athletics, Southeast Student Government and SoutheastHEALTH, the Power of Women luncheon connects female students with opportunities, women mentors and resources in the community. “This event is a great opportunity to bring together extraordinary women to enhance the future of their next generation of colleagues,” said Amanda Lincoln, Power of Women committee member and director of development for the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. “Since its inception, 24 students have been awarded the Power of Women Scholarship and over 1,500 attendees have been empowered by our speakers.” An expo, featuring local businesses, community groups and various campus organizations, will be held at 10:30 a.m. followed by a luncheon at 11:45 a.m. Community members and Southeast faculty, staff and students are invited to attend. Janet Perez Eckles, a 1975 Southeast graduate, motivational speaker, author, “master interpreter,” radio host, missionary, life coach, and founder of JC Empowerment, Inc., will serve as the keynote speaker with an empowering message entitled “Success: An Inside Job.” Eckles graduated from Southeast with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In 2016, she received an Alumni Merit Award. [caption id='attachment_24915' align='alignright' width='200'] Janet Perez Eckles[/caption] In spite of profound adversity from physical blindness and the sorrow of the loss of her youngest son, Eckles has striven to form a powerful platform and serve as proof that no crisis turns to tragedy when faith, tenacity and determination are applied. Her joy and passion for life has become her signature in all she accomplishes. “I’ve dedicated my life to show every person who says they can’t find success because of so much against them that limitations can’t exist when your passion is ignited,” said Eckles. “When you find your passion and add perseverance, success will find you. The desire to overcome challenges and defy all odds has led me to step into territory that no blind person should, whether that’s traveling internationally by myself, writing books or hosting my own cooking show. My blindness is never an obstacle, but rather, a channel to guide others to personal success.” Eckles takes her message of empowerment across the country and abroad, and has shared the stage with John C. Maxwell, Darren Hardy and Lee Strobel. She has published four of her own inspirational books and many other English and Spanish compilations. Her journey of triumph has been featured in numerous national and international media outlets, and her works have been recognized through many prestigious awards. The passion to inspire and transform her readers and English- and Spanish-speaking audiences have impacted thousands in the 15 years of her career as an author and conference speaker. During the luncheon, Abbie Crites-Leoni, president of the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association, will present Power of Women Scholarship awards to Southeast students Taylor Alexander of St. Louis, Missouri; Megan Chisum of Chaffee Missouri; Samantha DeMarco of DeSoto, Missouri; Heather Gillock of Puxico, Missouri; Katie Glover of Kennett, Missouri; Melissa Lukes of St. Charles, Missouri; Veronica Moore of Benton, Missouri; Emma Petree of Springfield, Missouri; Magdalen Pike of St. Louis, Missouri; and Tripti Shakya of Kaski, Nepal. The Power of Women Scholarship is awarded each year to women attending Southeast who are full-time students and demonstrate a passion for a life of service. The Power of Women program for Southeast students began in 2012 and is designed to encourage women – Southeast alumni, business women and community members throughout the region – to support Southeast Missouri State University through service and philanthropy. Through this program, the University Foundation hopes to connect female students at Southeast with financial resources to fund their education as well as opportunities to learn through mentorships, internships and service projects in the region. The Power of Women Scholarship was first awarded in the fall of 2013 and endowed in the spring of 2014. Tickets for the luncheon are $35 per person or $200 for a table of six (table includes sponsoring two student hosts to attend the luncheon). The luncheon is free for Southeast students who may pick up a ticket in the Campus Life & Event Services Office in the University Center Room 414. Proceeds will benefit scholarships for female students at Southeast. This year’s event is also sponsored by community businesses including Edward Jones–Cheryl Mothes, Bold Marketing, Fox 23 My 49, River Radio and many others. Reservations must be made by Thursday, March 23, by calling (573) 651-2259 or registering online at http://www.semo.edu/powerofwomen.